Handcestry

by John Davis Jr.

My hands are older today than I remember.
Overnight, they’ve seasoned into my grandfather’s:
one rigid blue vein ridging each index finger
like long-repaired irrigation lines running
our grove rows in black-kneed toolbox summer.

Cut, splice, clip, patch, plug, cap – he taught it all
using that pointer I’ve inherited, the same one
that gestured during after-work naps. Jobs done,
directions kept flowing – “That’s it. Right there.”
Age-mottled, earth-brown digits twitched instruction.

Those lines remain – pulsing, delivering
life even after the pump has quieted,
its cycles complete. The soil is filled and grateful.

John Davis Jr. is a sixth-generation Florida Cracker Poet. He lives in Winter Haven and serves as the English Department Chair for The Vanguard School of Lake Wales. His works have been published in the Santa Fe Review, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Cantilevers, Frigg Magazine, The Swamp, Real South and Saw Palm magazines and Floyd County Moonshine, and he is also the winner of the Wesley Ryals Award in Creative Writing for Poetry from Florida Southern College. Read his previously published poems Family Gathering and Lovebug Seasons

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2 COMMENTS
  • Terry Minchow-Proffitt / April 10, 2013

    Nicely done, John. I love how you work the metaphor of the irrigation lines! Such a deep sense of gratitude and indebtedness, the stuff that clearly, as you allude so well, runs in the blood. Thank you.

  • Merilyn Strickland / April 10, 2013

    Beautiful imagery evoking an orange grower’s connection to the land and his consciousness of his responsibility to husband it well. Also speaks of the power of heritage and the inevitable, lovely connections it endows. Well done, John.

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